Sense of responsibility ….

I saw my therapist earlier this week – cognitive guy, not pill guy.

We had a bit of a catch up as I had not seen him in a few weeks.

I explained what had happened with chemist guy, and that I had been on the incorrect meds for the last three months, and we discussed how much strain I had been under since December, and how in part it was due to the shift in meds and the fact that I was under and incorrectly medicated.

Long conversation and he started talking to me about how I felt I carried the responsibility for the incorrect medication, which added to the difficulty of being able to go back and speak to the pharmacist.

Logically I could explain that the error lay with the pharmacist.  I sensed there was something not right and had queried it twice.  I felt something was wrong, but after being assured that actually it was correct, then I put my head down and just took the stuff, because two people had told me I was wrong {even though I knew that they were wrong}.

We spoke about the need for me to go back to the pharmacist and explain that he was incorrect.  I explained that the idea of doing that would make me so very uncomfortable.

Dr Cognitive explained that the pharmacist had trained and that was his job to issue the correct medication.  He asked that if the pharmacist had trained and he had made the error and swapped something out, why was I feeling responsible.

I explained that maybe he had asked me to substitute medication, and maybe I had said yes.  I said I should have checked the script.

Dr Cognitive asked how I would have done that if the pharmacist kept the script.

I just said I should have made a copy and cross checked it {you can see logic has no real place in full blown anxiety disorder}.

Dr Cognitive was trying to hammer the point home that I was not responsible for the incorrect script, that surely I could see that the pharmacist held the responsibility.

I had followed the medication and taken it according to the stickers on the boxes, I had followed up and checked to be sure.  The error lies with the pharmacist.

Somehow in this I am responsible that the incorrect medication got given to me, some how it was my error.  I should have known.  I should have checked.  The onus is on me to have made sure it was right.

And this really is an illustration of what is at the core of a great deal of my stuff in my every day life.

Everything is my fault – if something goes wrong, somehow I should have known and anticipated that it was going to go wrong and seen it.  Some how I should have.

When things happen, I always feel like I hold all the responsibility.

You not having a good time?  Don’t worry somehow I should have made sure you did, and it is my fault.

No matter what the situation I always feel like I am on the backfoot.  Instead of being able to assess a situation and see that maybe I share some responsibility, I always feel like it is all my responsibility to ensure things go right, go perfect – it adds a huge amount of weight/responsibility to my day and it is a bit on the exhausting side.

So you see it is not just about going over the pharmacist guy and saying “Hey dude, you might have made a little error over here ….”  it is a bit more than that.

Dr Cognitive and I have a lot of work to do.  Logically I can GET that I need to be realistic, and that I also need to accept that not everything is about me, but that requires me to empower myself, and at the same time be able to express how I feel and be heard.  Which I fail at miserably, and impacts most of my days.

It’s a big ask – and this is the year for letting go of {some} of the sense of responsbility, and accepting that I cannot control and thus be responsible for everything.  Baby steps right?

<<an inflated sense of responsibility is a  standard side effect of anxiety and panic disorder>>

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Somedays I wish I could sort out all the sh*t on my 12 things list ……

I struggle with life a bit. Who am I kidding? I struggle with life a lot.

And this year has been a bit epic for me.  So many things did not go as planned, so many things got totally out of control.   Mainly in my head.  Then in my life.

I seem to have got a handle on my obsessive compulsive stroke panic and anxiety stuff  – which had totally overtaken my life this year.

Can you say freak out?

I can’t say whether it was an “attack” or a series of “attacks” or an “episode.”  It has been pretty hellish.  Like a roller coaster, but without the aid of tracks and a seat belt.

Either way it left me shattered and clinging on to reality though clenched teeth, and bleeding finger nails.

Now?  I am not best, but I am better than I was.  My grasp is tentative at best, but I really do feel as if I am at least aiming in the right direction.

I am seeing a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy.  I also see a psychiatrist who keeps me medicated up to my gills.  I believe this will reduce as my coping mechanism kicks in.

CBT is really hard work.

It is much easier to lie on the couch and blame my mother and life, but CBT really holds a mirror/magnifying glass up to your stuff and makes you questions every aspect.

It doesn’t deal with the “past” it deals with “today” and what you are doing “today” and how you can alter your thought processes about “today.”

It is not a quick fix.  It is not as simplem as I am suggesting here.  Dr CBT is pretty good, and I try to see him every week.

The longer the gaps between my visits, the further I notice I drift off into the abyss.  Yes, a somewhat co-dependant relationship if there ever was one.

It is a bit alarming as you drill down to the root cause of stuff, and sometimes you realise, that actually you are a bit sad and stupid, when you sort of thought you were a bit awesome.

There are many things I need to let go or change – and these are some of them:

1.  Internet and Social Media Dependence.  I have spent much too much time trying to find validation in cyberspace, when in reality, I need to find it with me first before I can even think of standing in cyberspace.  I have been the instigator, and in some cases the victim of so much crap.  It makes me all shaky and sweaty just thinking about it.  Having bad judgement and trying to operate in cyber space has not been a great combination. <palm slap with hand>.  Right now I am pretty much off most/all social media, and lurk around only really on my blog.

2. It is not always my responsibility.  I can live life without it being “if I do not do it, no one will” mentality or “it happened because I did or did not do something”.  So what if no one does it?  So what if you stand back and let it happen? So what?  Leave it.  It is not always your problem to fix it.  You cannot fix the world. Right now you are stuggling to button your shirt, leave the world’s probelms to someone else.

3. I am not as important as I think I am.  When I walk in to a room, people do not actually stop what they are doing and look at me and make a judgement.  Really I am not that important to them.  No one gives a shit.  Even those who do make a judgement – really does it matter, and really in a group how many people are there that truly judge you negatively?  And how many people think about the stuff I do or say as much as I think they do.  Trust me, hardly anyone.  No one gives a fig.  Except you.

4. Name the emotion and deal with it individually.  I paint my fears with a big brush.  I paint all my crap with a big brush.  Much easier to have a blanket description and then sit and tremble in the corner.  I can’t do that because it makes me feel anxious.  I don’t want do that because I am afraid.  Does it really make you feel anxious only, or are there other emotions there? Well, actually yes, I am nervous, I am a bit anxious, I am scared and I am afraid. Okay, so that is four different emotions, let’s work through each of those instead of thinking that it is all anxiety.  Makes it easier if you break something down to work through it.  See what each emotion is about, and deal with it.  A bit like eating an elephant ……

5.  Stop putting pressure on yourself to always feel a certain way.  I feel I am meant to always enjoy being with my children.  So when I am with them, and I am not enjoying it, then I feel guilty and I start a bit of self-flagellation because I should love it.  And that is pretty much the cycle for a lot of things. I need to stop telling myself I “should feel anything” and just feel it as it is, and accept it.  Not just about my kids, about so many aspects of my life.  Stop dictating to yourself you are meant to be or feel a certain way.  Who decides this?  Why are you dictating to yourself.  Stop!

6.  You cannot change anyone, so deal with it.  It drive me crazy when so-and-so does such-and-such. It drives me totally off my rocker.  Ask yourself, can you change them?  Generally the answer is no.  If they do it all the time, then accept that it is the way they do things.  Having a shit fit every time, is only making you more insane.  Does it really matter that so-and-so does such-and-such?  Really?  Like in the bigger scheme of things?  Probably not so much.  Well, then do not get so worked up by it, as you cannot change it and you have no influence.

7.  If you don’t like something or don’t want to do something, why do you force yourself to do it?  Well that one is sort of self-explanatory.

8.  What is the worst that can happen? Really if you say something and someone feels bad, can you control how they feel or what they think?  No, so why constantly bereit yourself.  So what if it happens that way, so what?  Is it really that bad? No.  Do you consciously set out to hurt people?  No.  Can you control what people feel or think?  No.  Then stop sitting there taking responsibility for it.

9.  Spend more time in the present and less time in the “what if it does happen” future and “oh god it happened like this last time, I am sure it will happen like this now” past.  Just BE. Just BE.  You are missing out on so much running around in your head.  Sit in the sun, sip your wine, smell the lavendar.  That is all.  Feel the sun on your face.

10.  Stop having this insane dialogue with yourself over every possible issue.  It’s done.  It’s over.  You do not have to relive the conversation over and over again and persecute yourself.  You can’t go back.  You can’t do it differently.

11.  Why judge yourself in the worse possible light?  You cannot actually be as sh*t as you think you are.  Really, you can’t.  More people like you and more people understand you than you think.  Stop being so harsh on yourself.

12.  Just let life live.  Don’t plan so much.  Don’t run it over and over in your head so much.  Stop with the fkn lists.  Don’t try to predict so much.  Don’t try to work in every possible eventuality.  It’s life, it happens, and then you adjust.  It just is.

13.  Drink less wi…….. actually no, stop at 12. 13 is such an unlucky number.

What is your sanity score?

I am just not feeling better …. right now.

Better than what?  I am not sure how to explain it.  I guess better than feeling like death.

I am not physically sick.  I can’t show you an injury or a bleeding elbow.  But I physically feel in pain all day,

My medication has definitely made me feel less worse than I did – and really for that I am grateful.

Thanks to Stillnox I am sleeping like the dead.  Thanks to Nuzak I appear vaguely alive during the day.

I have a few other things thrown in for good measure.

This is without a doubt the worst I have felt for the longest time, since at least 2003 – 2005.  I think.  But my memory might be hazy and I may well be mis-remembering.

I cannot actually believe how crap I feel.  Right now I am doing breath-breath-breath, everything else is detail and somewhat unnecessary.

I know I should be all these things that I should be: thankful, grateful, glad to have a job, happy for all I have,my beautiful precious children, my caring partner, but I just feel so “dead” to everything.

Still.

I have definitely lost my mojo.  Somewhere.  Some how.  I am just not sure where to go and find it right now.

<If someone could tell me where my mojo is, I would gladly go there and collect it.  Really, I would.  I’d go right now. Immediately and grab it.  No questions asked.>

I am trying very hard with my kids to not give them the impression I am struggling (more than usual) and trying to appear patient and willing to read stories and spend time with them.  And do it and appear happy.

I am trying.

When they are in bed, I literally crumble like a paper mache that got wet in the rain.

Today I added a neck ache and a head ache to my day – I really wanted to take a Cataflam and a few Panado – but I was nervous that I had to get through the day and I had no idea what the combination of medication would do.

I need to give the semblance of functioning.

I made the rather disastrous error a few nights ago of eating dinner, took my sleeping tablet and my night medication, had a glass of wine with dinner.

Granted it was not a small glass.

But I was totally out of my tree while I was still sitting in front of my dinner plate.

I had no idea how I got to bed.  No recollection of locking the security gate or getting in to bed.  I found my glasses I wear when I watch television lying in the middle of my bedroom floor.  Some party I must have had without me knowing it.

So, I am guessing that combination was not the best idea I have ever had.

My pill doctor is a loon, so I need to shop around and find a new one.  In practice I will skulk away from her and pray I do not run into her at a mall.

I have had one appointment with my clinical psychologist who specialises in cognitive behaviour therapy.

We have a ways to go before we start with the heavy lifting stuff –  but I am already intrigued by his manner.  But let’s get to three consultations before I go and tattoo his name on my arm or something.

He suggested something mildly interesting in our last meeting – that I might have been inaccurately diagnosed in the past.

But I think he is going to keep a “new label” as a surprise for a later visit.

I did get a good feeling from him (but bear in mind I did also get a great feeling from my earlier pill doctor, and well, I was clearly …. er …… wrong, so do not take my opinion as authoritative on too many things right now)

I saw this interesting ‘are you crazy’ or better ‘how worried to you need to be by your level of crazy” on-line survey.  I think the fact that if you are doing it sort of tells you that you are a tad “crazy” but it is interesting that it highlights some areas that might be a concern and you might need to look at.

So it is not conclusive, but it definitely holds up some red flags that you might want to think about going forward.

I do want to confess that it was remarkably accurate – but I am all sorts of crazy right now, so really a blind guide dog could work that out.

I plan to retest myself every few weeks and see how it goes.  Out of interest, not for any therapeutic guidance.

So if you want to pop along and check your sanity score – let me know how you scored.

I tested earlier today and I came up with 157 (I think.  I did not write it down, so I am trying to remember accurately.  I just did the test again and got 151).

<the summary it gave me was: Based upon your answers, you appear to be experiencing a great deal of distress at the moment —  your overall mental health is greatly affected by this distress.  People with similar scores experience life as overwhelming and have a great deal of difficulty in coping with life, relationships, work or school.  If you have been feeling this way for longer than 2 weeks’ time, people similar to you have sought out professional care from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist. – handy advise me thinks>

Would you do the test?  What is your number?

(you do have to sign up, which is a case of a user name and password, so it is pretty simple stuff)

I thought I was in love … but I am just not that in to her ….

I had my second session with my psychiatrist yesterday morning.

Basically to see if I was able to sit on a couch and hold down a conversation.

Tick for that – job well done. And I did not cry.  Not even once.

We adjusted my meds a little bit, but the decision right now is to stay with what I have and see if that is fine for me. She did give me some additional “pop in an emergency” pills, so when I feel an anxiety attack (not the correct term, so forgive me there) coming on.

I can take one, and I believe that should be able to calm the storm – or stops me jumping off our one storey house, which ever is more apt.

I was sitting at my laptop last night and doing some photo editing and I felt this growing anxiety in me.  Totally not related to anything I was doing.

It started in my chest and seemed to spread out across my body.

I put it down to being really tired, and took a sleeping tablet and headed to bed – because I felt like it was a panic/anxiety attack, and was trying to hold a semi-normal conversation with Kennith while it was going on.

Some days I really need to get an “oscar nomination” for the work I do in appearing normal.

Some stuff going on with me:-

My mom and my step-father have been kind enough to take the kids for a few days, so I only have Isabelle at home which makes the “coping” easier.

Kennith leaves on a jet plane today for a trade show/or something, so he is gone for just over a week.  That makes me feel very anxious.  I can cope.  I can cope better when I know he is nearby.

Our freezer packed up last Thursday.  Fortunate told me. I forgot.  She told me again on Friday afternoon.  By that point I realised everything had melted or was melting (we have a big chest freezer number.)

I told Kennith on Friday late afternoon.  Kennith gets home (and this is why he needs to be called Captain Underpants) – he looks at it and goes “let’s buy another one.”

I want to clarity, it is Friday night at about 17h30.

He phones House and Home (or whom ever) and speaks to a guy who deals with Fridges.  He says you know model so-and-so fridge-freezer-double-stand-up-thing.  Guy goes yes.  Kennith goes, have you got one?

Kennith hops in the car and flies through to pay for it.

I am busy throwing a chicken in the oven.  Kennith gets back.  Before chicken is out, guy delivers our new fridge-freezer-double-stand-up-thing. (IT IS FRIDAY NIGHT, HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO THAT?)

The unpacking and repacking of the fridge and the fact that our kitchen looked like a grocery store had thrown up in it, made me very anxious,  So Kennith unpacked and repacked the fridge and freezer.

Of course now we have a broken chest freezer lying in our backyard.  The similarities to trailer park have not been completely lost on me.

Our lovely Pepe suffered an unfortunate personal blow last week.  Her brother, Kennedy died suddenly/under strange circumstances.

We found out in the morning and by 3pm she was on a bus/taxi back to Zimbabwe.  She is the card that my entire “house of cards” rests on, so that is a bit traumatic for me (I am not taking away from the fact that a death is a traumatic thing for her….. I know this is not all about me).

I am not sure how long Pepe will be away for.  I am worried about her and her family.  I am worried about me coping without her.

I have Fortunate helping me out (for which I am thankful, and yes, Fortunate).

What I mean is that Fortunate is deathly ill, and I have found enough meds to keep her vertical.  No really.  It appears I have a face that a pharmacist feels no qualms about giving S5 meds to without a script.  Clearly I have a winning smile and a kind glint in my eye.

It is unbelievable what I have got without a script.

Fortunate is at home alone with my young daughter.  I phone every 60 minutes to check she is conscious and has not set herself a light.  Clearly that is making me very anxious.

I had my first cognitive behaviour therapy this morning at 07h30.

I was really excited to get started and get some of “my stuff” on my list actioned.

I arrived bright and early.  Dr R arrived bright and early.  He looked at me.  I looked at him.  He looked at me.  He looked at his appointment book.  He said my name is not in there.

I felt our relationship was not off to a good start.  I left feeling a tad deflated/defeated/rejected.

I try again on Friday.

On the upside, can’t be much worse that today, right?

My psychiatrist mentioned “chakra” once too many times for my liking.

I really need to move on.  I think when she mentioned I need to “keep a notebook of things I am appreciative for” near me and jot stuff down.  That was probably the final blow in our relationship.

I mean, seriously anyone who has known me for 4.2 seconds would not suggest that to me.  Unless it was an April Fool’s joke or there was a bottle of wine involved.

I had booked an hour with her, so I did not feel rushed.

I was ready to leave after about 35 minutes.  Actually I was keen to leave after 15 minutes, but it is a bit like a date where you feel you must order coffee before leaving, so as not to appear rude.

I really do not need a pill doctor that I can lie on the couch and chat to, but I just need him/her to adjust my meds and then I can have a rational conversation with once a month.  My problem with the divine Dr D is I feel I am the rational person in the room, which I think is a recipe for disaster.

I really thought Dr D and I had a special relationship and I was nearly at the point of carving her name on my desk with my NT Cutter, but I think I need to start “looking for love” again, as it just is not working out.

Of course I feel terribly embarrassed to tell her that, and might need to reject her via sms ……

Saving myself one script at a time ….

I saw my brand new shiny therapist/psychiatrist on Monday.

I was very glad to find her in an emergency, and well, I was having an emergency. July was just not going to be good enough to wait for the other guy, so I kicked him to the curb, as you do with psychiatrists.

Being me, by Saturday I thought I felt better (that was after I had made the appointment.)

By Sunday I thought I was miraculously healed, so did not really need to see a doctor, and was totally over-reacting by making this appointment.  I mean, really!  Of course I am fine.  Never been better, in actual fact.

I usually get instantly cured the minute I sit in a doctor’s waiting room, and alway feel a bit sheepish going inside to tell them I am ill, when really I am fine, really, and I am sorry to be wasting your time, and try to leave as quickly as I can.

Then Connor chewed pork rind in my ear on Sunday afternoon, and I went a bit postal.

I was really glad I had Monday’s appointment scheduled.  Really glad, as I felt I had been hanging on by what ever you hang on with when your nails have been pulled from your finger nail beds.  Bloody stumps I would hazard a guess.

If you have not been to a therapist before, I won’t bore you with too much detail.

The short of it is that you spend an hour sitting around talking about yourself, while someone writes furiously and goes “uh huh” quite a bit.  Almost like a first date, just you pay by the hour here and no one is buying you drinks, to get you in the mood.

It is inevitable that you will cry – a great deal – even when you chew the inside of your lip to stop yourself crying.

I tend to find reasons why not to like someone.  That way all I have to do is to wait until I find “the thing” and then I can go “see, I knew I did not like you…”

I found it hard not to like Dr D even if just a little bit.  Not because she was not adorably cute or brilliant, I found her sincere and familiar, and human.  And well, just real …

She reminded me of a person who I chat to on a forum (and who I have met in real life) who goes by the avatar, Lo**F – which was strange, but oddly familiar.

A few strange things occured in the hour.

Strange #1

I was talking about something else totally, and out of the blue she goes “When did your father die?”

I stopped talking as I think I was talking about lemon meringue pie ior something, and I said “You know that is a bit out of left field right?”

And she said “Yes it was…” and then smiled and repeated the question: “So when did your father die?”

I told her the year, and she sort of looked at me, smiled slightly and carried on writing whilst I continued to tell her about Lemon Meringue pie.

Strange #2

She asked me something and I explained my religious belief system and my sense of spirituality.

Both of which I can summarise politely as being somewhat “barren and lacking in an anchor” at this stage in my life.

She stopped me and said “you are making me very anxious right now…”

I looked at her and I said: “You know I am the patient and you are the doctor.  I am panicky and anxious, and well …. it is not helping that you are getting anxious …. it is not helping me.  You know that right?”

Dr D: “Yes, but you are making me anxious, and I needed to take a breath before you carried on to centre myself and to reduce my anxiety that you are causing in me.”

Okay ….

Strange #3

She asked me if I would like on the doctor’s bed thing – I was sitting in the leather wing backed chair at the time.

I asked why and she said she wanted to help me relax and try to panic less.  I told her lying on a bed behind a screen in a stranger’s office was not going to make me panic less or relax.

I asked her what  exactly she was going to be doing while I was lying there.

She said she was not going to touch me.  But was going to put her hands above me, to assist me and transfer some of her calm energy to me (or something like that.) – I think she said Reiki.  I asked if it mattered whether I believed in what she was doing, or whether it was okay I just lay there with my eyes closed.

She suggested it might help if I believed her, but lying there was fine too.

I said that she was making me deeply sceptical about this entire process, but if she wanted me to have a 5 minute lie down on her table, then that was fine, as long as she did not physically touch me and I could leave my shoes on.

I lay on the bed, closed my eyes, listened to my heart racing and the rather LOUD ticking of the wall clock. I did not get calmer or more relaxed, but that might have been because the receptionist kept buzzing through that her next appointment had arrived.

Our time together came to an end.

We had spoken at length that I was not a fan of medication and had “gone it alone” for some time, and at about the time that she was congratulating on my “not taking medication” stand point.

I interrupted her (as I knew she had another appointment waiting) and said: “But today is not that day.  I need a script, and I want a script today – I can come again and we can chat again another day.  But today I need a script!  I don’t care what you put on the script actually, as long as it reduces my anxiety and panic, as long as it makes me sleep through the night.”

Strange #4

She is writing out the script and goes, in a sort of by-the-by voice “Are you suicidal?”

I look at her, well, like she is crazy actually, and I go “The right answer is no, right?”  She hands me my script (granted only with enough meds for two weeks) and I skipped to the chemist.

No doubt I will be seeing her soon.